BONTOC, Mountain Province –As the year 2021 ends, the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) gave a special gift to the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) in this capital town through the passage of an ordinance ensuring the continuity of the financial aid they are receiving even in the continuous changes in administrations.
The Sangguniang Bayan passed Ordinance No. 348, s. 2021 sponsored by SB member Alsannyster Patingan, institutionalizing the BHWs Financial Aid Ordinance of 2021 recognizing their commitment as health providers in the grassroots- the community. The ordinance shall take effect on January 1, 2022.
The Sangguniang Bayan shared similar observations that the services of BHWs played a great role, particularly in the early interventions to the effects of the pandemic such as the enforcement of quarantine within their respective barangays, monitoring and reporting of suspected cases, and delivery of provisions and relief. These are aside from regular services the BHWs rendered in support of the various health programs of the government.
Mayor Franklin Odsey approved the ordinance emphasizing that it is fitting to increase their honorarium as incentive for all their hard work as frontliners in providing quality health services in their respective barangays.
The mayor said that under the administration’s vision Bontoc on the Rise, the health sector is one of his priority programs.
“We recognize the hard work of our health providers- our BHWs. The BHWs are the partners of the government in the delivery of health services, especially on maternal and child care. The BHWs are the ones who are tapped to survey the status of the constituents in terms of health in their respective barangay, conduct home visits, assist in the immunization of children, and others. With the global pandemic, their role in the fight against COVID-19 is evident. This is more than enough to suffice how important BHWs are,” Odsey
The BHWs started to receive honorarium of P1, 500 each. In 2018, the honorarium of each BHW increased to P7, 500 and then P8, 000 in 2020.
With Ordinance No. 348, s. 2021, every BHW shall be entitled to a financial aid of P10, 000 per year which is to be given in full December of every year. Further, the BHW should have rendered a minimum of three months of actual service in a given year to be eligible for the grant of financial aid and to be pro-rated depending on the length of service.
Likewise, the ordinance gave authority to the Local Chief Executive (LCE) to increase, but not to decrease the financial assistance through an Executive Order without going through the arduous process of amending the ordinance.
For inclusion to the Financial Assistance Program, the respective Punong Barangay shall formally seek the conformity of the LCE if he/she intends to appoint additional BHWs to his/ her barangay. If conformity is given, the qualified BHW shall be included in the program. Lack of conformity by the LCE or failure to seek conformity shall not invalidate the appointment of the BHW and will still be given the benefits accorded to her/him, except for the financial assistance as stipulated in the BHWs Financial Aid Ordinance of 2021.
As of this writing, there are 135 accredited BHWs in Bontoc per data from the Municipal Health Office. Of the total, there are nine BHWs in Barangay Poblacion, seven in Caluttit, six in Samoki, 17 in Bontoc Ili, 11 in Alab Proper, eight in Alab Oriente, five in Balili, seven in Gonogon, 10 in Dalican, 11 in Guina-ang, nine in Mainit, nine in Maligcong, six in Bayyo, six in Talubin, five in Caneo and nine in Tocucan. The accredited BHWs recently received their honorariums of P8, 000 for the Fiscal Year 2021 as the increase of the P10, 000 yearly honoraria of BHWs will take effect in January 2022. By Alpine L. Killa